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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

ON THE  CHANGE  OF REFRANGIBILITY  OF LIGHT.          367
least refrangible of the active rays, where it ended in a sort of tail or plano-concave wedge, which penetrated to a moderate distance into the fluid. Hence one reason, though perhaps not the only reason, why the strong solution showed a copious dispersion from G to Q^H, where the weak solution showed hardly any, is plain enough. But in the region of the invisible rays beyond the violet, the dispersion was plainly more copious with the weak than with the strong solution. It appears then that in such a case the sensitive molecules do not act independently of each other, but the quantity of light emitted by a given number of molecules is less, in proportion to the light (visible or invisible) consumed, than when a solution is more dilute. We should expect a priori that when a solution is tolerably dilute further dilution would make no more difference in this respect. This seems to agree very well with experiment. For when a pretty dilute solution and one much more dilute are compared with respect to the quantity of dispersed light given out in a given portion of the incident spectrum, they appear to be alike. I suppose the comparison to be made with respect to such a portion of the incident spectrum, or in the case of solutions of such strength, that the dispersed light is confined to a space extending to no great distance into the fluid in either solution. Under these circumstances the comparison may be made easily enough.
188. Tn the actual experiment, the elementary portions of light corning from the elementary strata of fluid situated at different distances from the anterior surface enter the eye together. Let us however trace the consequences of the very natural supposition, that in passing across a given stratum of fluid the quantity of light absorbed, as well as the quantity given out by dispersion, is proportional, cceteris paribus, to the intensity of the incident light. The incident light is here supposed to be homogeneous, and to belong indifferently to the visible or invisible part of the spectrum. In crossing the elementary stratum having a thickness dt, let the fraction qdt of the incident light be absorbed, and the fraction rdt dispersed in such a direction as to reach the eye; and of the latter portion let the fraction sdt be absorbed in crossing a stratum having a thickness dt, s being different from q on account of the change